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  1. #1
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    Default English/western attitude

    Was just briefly watching Lynn Palm talking with Jane Savoi on Palm's program on HRTV. They were talking about horses that they had learned from and Savoi made the comment that her first horse was a Welsh that "must have been trained out west somewhere" and that "someone used baling wire for a bit" because the horse had a scar on his tongue giving it what she described as "an hour glass shape".

    I'm not sure just how to word this BUT here goes.....

    It seems that any time someone who rides in any of the English disciplines wants to complain about how a horse has been handled or trained they blame it on being "trained out west somewhere" or "cowboy trained" or something similar.

    Yet, when the English style riders find they have more horse than they can handle they often suggest that the horse be sent to "a cowboy trainer".

    As a western rider and part time trainer I'm offended on several levels by this. First of all...I'm pretty sure that there are English style riders who will use a thin snaffle or a twisted snaffle or other such bit with every bit as much damage to a horse's mouth as there are western riders. So why the blame thrown at western riders/trainers? Secondly, it seems that western style training is somehow considered to be second class or common or some such thing UNTIL an English horse needs to learn respect, to be calm under odd circumstances or something else along these lines....then the western trainer is someone who can handle it. Does this not seem to be a contradiction? Bad training style until my horse needs it?

    Not trying to stir a big brawl here but am just a bit surprized when I hear these things being said/suggested.

    Open to comments (and zipping up flame suit in case).
    Colored Cowhorse Ranch
    www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
    Northern NV



  2. #2
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    Its a familiar battle.
    English riders seem to believe that all western riders/trainers are incapable of thought and train their horses with baseball bats. etcetc
    Truth is, there is abuse and bad training practice in both worlds, but.. we just hate to admit it.

    I come from an interesting background in both disciplines. I learned to ride by falling off my horse bareback.. ended up riding in Belgium at one point training under Nuno Olivieri. Yes..that Nuno. In a full on dressage environment. Still do H/J & baby dressage to this day, yet I still start horses western style and ride my main horse in an aussie saddle and a S hackamore and *gasp* neck rein 9 days out of 10.

    I get tired of the english thing of 'send em to a cowboy!' because ya know all cowboys are the die hard rough and tough trainers *eyeroll* when they have a problem they can't fix with an english discipline horse.

    For my part - I do fix a lot of those horse, and no I don't need to tie em to a tree, drag em behind a truck or run em into the ground to do it. But I will buck out a horse sensibly that needs it, because I understand the technique.
    That doesn't make me a cowboy trainer, it just makes me a bit more skilled n dealing with a troubled animal than the one doing 20 metre circles in the arean (which by the way I'm not knocking, my 20 metre circles tend to look like eggs)

    Different folk - different skillset. - and we don't always understand that other skillset..
    Quote Originally Posted by ExJumper View Post
    Sometimes I'm thrown off, sometimes I'm bucked off, sometimes I simply fall off, and sometimes I go down with the ship. All of these are valid ways to part company with your horse.



  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by coloredcowhorse View Post

    I'm not sure just how to word this BUT here goes.....

    It seems that any time someone who rides in any of the English disciplines wants to complain about how a horse has been handled or trained they blame it on being "trained out west somewhere" or "cowboy trained" or something similar.

    Yet, when the English style riders find they have more horse than they can handle they often suggest that the horse be sent to "a cowboy trainer".
    I guess I'd say you're taking a few comments you have heard and painting all English-style riders with the same brush. Basically, you're doing the same thing that you're complaining about.



  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by GilbertsCreeksideAcres View Post
    I guess I'd say you're taking a few comments you have heard and painting all English-style riders with the same brush. Basically, you're doing the same thing that you're complaining about.
    No, I don't think I am. I almost never hear western style riders/trainers making assumptions about ALL English type riders (I'm sure some do but it seems more one sided)....and I was really surprized to hear this kind of comment from someone at Olympic level. I don't think ALL English riders/trainers do this but enough do that it is noticable. And honestly, not a lot of western type riders are going to send a horse to an English type trainer since the training is so very different (western riders tend to go with minimal contact, loose rein while English goes with more to near constant contact ....I learned English first and western later and it was hard to let go of the contact and trust the horse to do his job without me micromanaging and controlling everything). The training that some English trainers want done by "cowboy trainers" seems to be along the lines of "we wouldn't do that to a horse but we know this guy who can/will and it will fix the problem but we really don't want to know about it" kind of thing while at the same time putting down western training as not having finesse or being precise enough or some other thing along those lines. A bit like "Dirty Jobs"...it's there, someone has to do it, glad there's a cowboy willing to and glad we don't have to/don't know how to.
    Colored Cowhorse Ranch
    www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
    Northern NV



  5. #5
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    Huh, never really considered it but now that you mention it, I tend to agree with you CCH, especially as evidenced on this very board.

    For the record, I started out western initially but my parents wanted me to learn "proper" so they put me in Pony Club the minute I was of age. I continued riding bareback, working cattle on the ranch (western of course), and also taking lessons and competing in english events (x-country, h/j, flatwork, etc).
    ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
    ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.



  6. #6
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    Default

    Well, some are trying to change that:

    http://americashorsedaily.com/western-dressage/



  7. #7
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    I think the problem occurs when the English rider runs into a poor example of a western rider.

    Growing up riding english/bareback at a rather tony barn one day a western riding club rented the ring to have a show. OMG. Their horses arrived in several large stock trailers (the low kind), they were all wearing their amazingly colored tack and in no time several horses ran by with their saddles under their bellies. We moseyed on up to the rail to watch their show. Those people could not ride, their horses were out of control and we were really disgusted at how they treated their horses.

    Depending on where you live (especially here back East), way too many western riders don't have a clue about horses...they bought a heavy saddle, pointy toed boots and a quarter horse either with his head in the air or "peanut rolling" gait...both sad.

    A good western rider is just as able as a good english rider...both can be rare at times.
    "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"



  8. #8
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    Actually, the same kind of thing comes from western riders against english riders. Obviously a little different, but coming from an english discpline into a western one in an area very big into barrel racing and western pleasure was a wake-up call. I trained western horses at a local barn for a while (I ride english) and the comments dropped here and there about "english riding" were not always pleasant. I've seen first hand both sides of the coin.

    People make assumptions about other people. It is hard to change that judgemental mindset. Western riders often have something to say against english riders and vise versa.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by acoustic View Post
    Actually, the same kind of thing comes from western riders against english riders. Obviously a little different, but coming from an english discpline into a western one in an area very big into barrel racing and western pleasure was a wake-up call. I trained western horses at a local barn for a while (I ride english) and the comments dropped here and there about "english riding" were not always pleasant. I've seen first hand both sides of the coin.

    People make assumptions about other people. It is hard to change that judgemental mindset. Western riders often have something to say against english riders and vise versa.
    I only ride western but I am sure some western riders (I am guilty of doing that as well) have said some things about English riding that is mean, judgemental, and possiblly unfair. Do we (as western riders and people who ride English) bring any of those comment from the other group on ourselves?

    Personally I have noticed some if not allot of English riders do look down on western riders and western events. And that even if it is not true, that attitude or the rider believes they have that attitude, will cause the western rider being defensive.
    Last edited by Kentucky; Mar. 15, 2011 at 11:03 PM.



  10. #10
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    I thank God that as a child I was blessed with being exposed to all different kinds of riding. It saved me from the bias. Although having lived in the heart of Hunt Country and now in the West I have experienced the bias from both sides of the fence and find it funny how similar the word are when directed at the `other` side.

    Honestly I think much of it is due to a lack of versatility. Over the years specializing in this or that, selective training, selective breeding all to be the best at 1 thing has promoted the gap. Even 4H'er these days are often divided up by their chosen discipline. It's sad ....

    With ignorance breeding on both sides due to a lack of knowledge and a few bad apples I assume it's going to continue. Human nature I guess. We tend to not trust what is different than we are.
    "Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter, it gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark"



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluey View Post
    Well, some are trying to change that:

    http://americashorsedaily.com/western-dressage/

    It's about time!
    Thanks for the link Bluey!!!
    "Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter, it gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark"



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by acoustic View Post
    People make assumptions about other people. It is hard to change that judgemental mindset. Western riders often have something to say against english riders and vise versa.
    I've mostly had problems with Western riders making fun of me for wearing a helmet, which is really obnoxious. Now, I am a firm believer in helmet use, but I'm not the type to go around lecturing other adults about their choice in headwear, so I figure if I leave the topic alone, then they should too.

    There have been other weird comments, and they're not just limited to English vs. Western, either. Once I had a jumper rider (wannabe) tell me that dressage was cruel because the bits were so harsh

    And I admit to being a little leary of many of the gaited horse riders, since I've met so many who bought a gaited horse because they didn't really want to learn how to ride.

    Obviously, I know that not everyone fits into those stereotypes, so I try to reserve judgement, but I'm sure there are some situations that I go into a little more defensively than others.
    "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
    -Edward Hoagland



  13. #13
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    I do hear you Colouredcowhorse - but like in every topic there are pre-conceived opinions. Consider the source - except I'm surprised in this case that the source was Jane Savoi. A lot of us have respect for the best of both disciplines when done right, and not much for the yahoos on both sides.

    And yes, "Send him to a cowboy" has roughneck conotations - even though most of us would never send our horses to such a fellow, but choose a very thorough and careful Western rider who is a cowboy with lots of horsesense...
    or an English rider with equal skills.

    I do understand your frustration, and agree with you: just that we are not all like that!



  14. #14
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    I've done both and have seen both attitudes. I ride english in a western/stock horse world - Cowtown, anyone?

    I always laugh and tell people my horses are hunter/jumpers with a western attitude.

    The biggest difference I see is that western "trained" horses seem to be more worldly (less spooky, more tolerant of mistakes, less apt to push riders) whereas solely english horses are a little more high strung, more prone to require daily riding/longing to stay sane, and just generally spoiled.

    It has very little to do with training methods and all about attitude of the rider. It also could be breed traits (stock horses vs OTTBs) playing a role. I've also seen absolutely bonkers western horses and dead broke, steady eddy english horses - I completely understand that I'm making generalizations, and that it's not a stead fast rule - but maybe that's more along the lines of what the OP is referring to?
    Veni vidi vici. With a paint pony, nonetheless.



  15. #15
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    Hey, I'm a strictly English gal and I'm engaged to a cowboy. No, a REAL one, born and raised on a Wyoming million-acre cattle ranch, beef three times a day, rodeo since he was big enough to haul his own rig out of the truck cowboy. We have had several discussions about this, as I had that mindset the OP mentioned, and he thought (well, still thinks) that all "Equestrian," which is his term for English don't ask me why, people are snobs.
    Aisha, my heart from 03/06/1986 to 08/22/2008.

    COTH's official mini-donk enabler.
    Odie, aka the Evil Burrito, is on Facebook.



  16. #16
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    PS: here's a good example of how we look on trail rides!
    Aisha, my heart from 03/06/1986 to 08/22/2008.

    COTH's official mini-donk enabler.
    Odie, aka the Evil Burrito, is on Facebook.



  17. #17
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    I can see where the OP is coming from.

    I also see how people often seem to like to think their horse was previously abused.

    As an aside, I once had a horse that had a cut tongue; my vet said is is sadly not that uncommon, and is often from people who don't take baling twine off the round bales and the horse traps/cuts it tongue on that...not from a bit. I can't quite wrap my head around how that would happen, but I tend to beleive my vet!



  18. #18
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    I grew up riding western, had my first 'English' lessons at age 10, did hunters, jumpers, a little dressage along the way, eventing, have foxhunted since 1971. These days I ride both western and English.

    I am of the opinion that if more people 'sent their horses to cowboys' to be properly trained, instead of trying to school themselves and their horses via DVDs, books, and faddish tv trainers, the world would be a better place. But I guess that's another discussion.

    It does work both ways, my cowboy uncle used to give me a hard time when I started riding English, putting on those 'tight britches' and riding in those 'postage stamp saddles.' And since I do a fair amount of hunting out west these days, one does encounter ranch hands who are of course always invited to the local hunt in their working clothes if they so desire. These cowboys show up with a gleam in the eye figuring they will be mightily amused by the 'postage stamp saddle' set. But, say about mile 3 or 4 of the first gallop, I've heard more than one say '*&^%$, these people can RIDE.'

    I guess I'd say in general, human nature to deride that which is 'different' from what you're used to. There are all sorts of misconceptions associated with horses that aren't uniquely 'English' or 'western,' as well. Like 'snaffle bits won't hurt horses' mouths.' If more folks saw the scarred tongues my horse dentist has shown me, in the mouths of horses 'who only go in snaffles,' they'd know better on that one.

    I have to say, I've seen a few videos of the 'cowboy dressage' and I love it!



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arelle View Post
    I've done both and have seen both attitudes. I ride english in a western/stock horse world - Cowtown, anyone?

    I always laugh and tell people my horses are hunter/jumpers with a western attitude.

    The biggest difference I see is that western "trained" horses seem to be more worldly (less spooky, more tolerant of mistakes, less apt to push riders) whereas solely english horses are a little more high strung, more prone to require daily riding/longing to stay sane, and just generally spoiled.

    It has very little to do with training methods and all about attitude of the rider. It also could be breed traits (stock horses vs OTTBs) playing a role. I've also seen absolutely bonkers western horses and dead broke, steady eddy english horses - I completely understand that I'm making generalizations, and that it's not a stead fast rule - but maybe that's more along the lines of what the OP is referring to?
    Absolutely.

    I physically ride English physically (actually, tack doesn't matter).
    I psychologically ride something like old rancher/vaquero Western.

    It makes for some happy horses that do a job no matter what even with a braided mane and hoof oil. It's not magic or English.

    And so onto a rant....

    The "send him to a cowboy" thing means "pay someone to dig you out of a training hole you made, but don't want to learn how to unmake."

    The other part of the rant:
    I don't know much about Jane Savoie's series of DVDs, books, Happy Horse System but it seems to me that she'd following along the marketing lines that Lynn Palm and plenty of other "Western" trainers did first. She's also behind the pace by a few years but the English or Dressage rider's answer to those other guys.

    Didn't realize I was so bitter! Nevermind me-- just having a bad week.

    There's a great big market to be tapped. Savoie either does think of western riding and training in disparaging terms. Or she knows her target market does. I'm not sure which is true, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. As a big pro with a national reputation, she oughtta know better. Maybe Lynn Palm gave her at least a bit of a clue in passing.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    Absolutely.

    I physically ride English physically (actually, tack doesn't matter).
    I psychologically ride something like old rancher/vaquero Western.

    It makes for some happy horses that do a job no matter what even with a braided mane and hoof oil. It's not magic or English.

    And so onto a rant....

    The "send him to a cowboy" thing means "pay someone to dig you out of a training hole you made, but don't want to learn how to unmake."

    The other part of the rant:
    I don't know much about Jane Savoie's series of DVDs, books, Happy Horse System but it seems to me that she'd following along the marketing lines that Lynn Palm and plenty of other "Western" trainers did first. She's also behind the pace by a few years but the English or Dressage rider's answer to those other guys.

    Didn't realize I was so bitter! Nevermind me-- just having a bad week.

    There's a great big market to be tapped. Savoie either does think of western riding and training in disparaging terms. Or she knows her target market does. I'm not sure which is true, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. As a big pro with a national reputation, she oughtta know better. Maybe Lynn Palm gave her at least a bit of a clue in passing.
    Well, many have spend decades making fun of any English riding, like Pat Parelli did forever, to make his audiences laugh, not realizing how unprofessional it sounded.
    His dowfall with that bashing, with what he was saying it just was showing he didn't know anything about English riding.
    Did make for good jokes during his entertaining the masses spiels.

    Dial up to the latest years, I guess his marketing advisors told him hey, you are missing a big market out there, cut that English bashing and get someone to learn about it and today, the Parelli students are supposedly even learning about dressage, although filtered thru what their strange theories make of it and so still not quite getting it right, but it is a start.

    That goes to show you, if you give people time, they eventually learn that when you encounter something different than what you know, it doesn't always mean not good enough, although it may.
    Different means it is not how you know to do things.
    What different should also mean is "how interesting, lets see what they are all about".
    Who knows, you may even be surprised, as those cowboys in Beverly's story didy.



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